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MGC's NERGC Panel on Open Records: Citizens Can Make a Difference
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How many deaths before the SSDI gets updated again?
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  Jan Meisels Allen discusses PRAMC activities.Photograph by Barbara Mathews.   Early in August Boston had the honor of hosting the annual convention of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. The Park Plaza was abuzz for a full week of presentations, an exhibit hall, and cultural events. Many MGC officers and members attended. I was there on Monday for a presentation of IAJGS's Public Records Access and Monitoring Committee (PRAMC) given in conjuction with the Records Access and Preservation Committee here in the U.S.. Jan Meisels Allan, Kenneth Ryesky, and Janet Alpert presented the well-attended Monday session. There was a lot of material to cover. PRAMC looks at records access issues internationally. The European Union is considering a General Data Protection Plan. Among the types of data considered for protection are the materials that genealogists commonly access. People would be required to opt-in to having their information accessed in the...
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    During the first day of the National Genealogy Society's 2013 conference, three events focused on records access. Harold Henderson, CG, the luncheon speaker for the Association of Professional Genealogists discussed "It's Not Just the SSDI: How We Can Advocate for Genealogy While Still Practicing It." He painted a bleak picture, noting that we often are on the defensive in protecting records access. We need to "keep the toothpaste in the tube" by showing an interest broader than our personal families. Just as it's too hard to put toothpaste back in a tube, it is also too hard to get access to records that have already been closed to the public. Harold advised us to be involved in all levels of government action, from legislating bills to developing regulations. Melinde Lutz Sanborn, CG, FASG, past vice president of MGC and current president of the American Society of Genealogists, titled her...
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Multiple state governments
  In the U.S., there are 57 varieties of vital statistics: the fifty states, five territories, Washington, DC, and New York City keep vital statistics in their own systems. The federal government requires reporting to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and to the Social Security Administration, to name just two. To do this, all 57 entities and the federal government must agree on how to transmit information. There are two ways in which these groups work together. The 57 recording entities are involved in the non-governmental National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS). From its side, DHHS has evolved the Model Act and Regulations, a set of suggestions about how individual states can enact law and develop regulations about how to implement that law. The states are not required to implement the Model Act and...
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MGC The issue of records access will be front and center at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2012 Conference in Birmingham, Alabama next week. For the first time, MGC will have a table at a national conference, and we hope to spread the word about our activities as watchdogs over public records. Our display will be in the Society Showcase section of the exhibit hall and attendees will find answers to many questions plus information on how to get more involved. It can be confusing to those not accustomed to the legislative process, but we aim to demystify! If you are in Birmingham, please stop by our table, pick up our newsletter and think about joining our society! APG On the Tuesday night before every FGS conference, the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) traditionally holds their APG Roundtable. This year it is Records Access: The Art of Advocacy. MGC is thrilled to welcome APG to the...
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At 3:00 pm Thursday afternoon, 10 May 2012, in Cincinnati, Ohio, RPAC met at the National Genealogical Society’s annual convention. On behalf of MGC, I attended as a Massachusetts liaison. What is RPAC? The Records Preservation and Access Committee is a three-person panel with an advisory board. The three panelists are delegates from the Federation of Genealogical Societies, the National Genealogical Society, and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. About a dozen people sit as advisors, but the bulk of the work and the bulk of the strategy comes from the three panelists: David Rencher, AG, CG, the Genealogist at FamilySearch in Utah; Fred Moss from Texas; and Jan Meisels Allen from California. Together for many years they have provided advice to state genealogical societies whenever access or preservation issues arise. Last year they supported our efforts to stop a bill that would have closed records back to 1840. This...
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Jan Miesels Allen of RPAC shared the following in a Forensic Genealogy discussion on LinkedInyesterday. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany, Jr., MD (R-LA) and Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX) announced that the Subcommittees on Oversight and Social Security will hold a hearing on tax fraud involving identity theft. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 10:00 A.M EDT. Oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing. We have been advised that the only invited presenters will be from government agencies. See: http://tinyurl.com/7qnot8h. The use of the Death Master File (DMF) also known as the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) has been purchased by other government agencies, financial institutions, life insurance companies, credit reporting organizations,...
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